Gravel Hunters at school

It might not look very exciting but flint gravel has a story to tell of a warm chalky sea that covered a lot of England about 90 million years ago. That’s when dinosaur were around although they were not living in this particular sea. Sometimes it filled the holes made by borrowing animals and sometimes, if we’re lucky it enclosed the remains of sea creatures meaning it is great place to look for fossils.

Bag of bones

It is really unusual for a palaeontologist (scientist who study fossils) to find a complete skeleton with all the bones in the right place. We are more likely to find only a few bones or a jumbled up skeleton.

Putting a skeleton back to together when you know what the animal looks like can be a challenge, but imagine how hard that becomes when there are no more of those creatures alive for you look at. It is a bit like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together when you don’t have the photo on the box as a guide.

Bouncy 'sea urchin' egg

How does burning fossil fuels threaten Antarctic marine life?

This experiment demonstrates the link between increasing carbon dioxide levels and ocean acidification and freshening oceans. Freshwater and more acidic water in the oceans make life harder for Antarctica’s marine animals.

The experiment and video were made by Nick Barrett. Nick is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge Earth Science Department and The British Antarctic Survey investigating the resistance of Antarctic marine species to predicted freshening and lower salinity in the Southern Ocean.

Slinky waves

When an earthquake occurs energy spreads outwards, shaking the ground as it goes. Just like when you drop a pebble into a pond and see the ripples spreading outwards on the surface, the energy from an earthquake also spreads outwards.

In this experiment you will find out about the different types of earthquake waves.

Download the instructions and information sheet

Shaky structures

When an earthquake occurs near a town or city it can cause lots of damage. In areas where there are lots of earthquakes, engineers must design earthquake-proof buildings which sway with the motion of the earthquake, rather than cracking and breaking. But what kind of structures do you think make good earthquake-proof buildings?

In this experiment you can make some earthquake-proof buildings of your own, using cocktail sticks and marshmallows. Give them a shake on some wobbly jelly to simulate an earthquake, and see how well the hold up!

Wonderfully waxy volcano in a cup

Hot magma beneath a volcano always wants to move up towards the surface. This is because it is a hot liquid and is less dense that the surrounding rock and so rises upwards. But as a magma rises it cools and eventually turns into solid rock...

In this experiment you will see what happens when melted wax moves through layers of sand and water, just like magma moves through layers of rock to reach the Earth's surface.

Download the instructions and information sheet